Other Music New Release Update
July 10, 2002

In This Week's Update:

Polyphonic Spree
VHS or Beta
We Still Kill the Old Way (Various Artists)
Colin Blunstone (Reissue)
Mantronix "That's My Beat" (Various Artist)
Luke Vibert's Further Nuggets (Various Artists)
Joseph Nothing
Revlon 9
Tuxedomoon (Reissue)
Eternity's Children (Reissue)


THE POLYPHONIC SPREE "The Beginning Stages Of..." (Good) CD $11.99
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"This is a choral symphonic pop band." So say the sparse notes
included in their debut album, featuring detailed listings of 24
musicians and their weapons of choice (which, besides a 13 member
chorus, include French horn, piccolo, bells, Moog, timpani,
strings and then some) but not a word on track listing or song
credits. I worry a bit that I am being tricked into the feelings
of elation that accompany music like this, as the relatively
sheltered ears of the modern listener are unaccustomed to the pure
joy of hearing a large group of voices sing out. And yet along
with the creative instrumentation and warm, natural production on
this album I think my ears are getting a much-needed romp in the
grass. Why argue with pleasure? With a gentle, soaring sound
somewhere between "Pet Sounds," Mercury Rev, Neutral Milk Hotel,
Lambchop and Up With People, this group is doing their best to
inject our modern world with a new spirituality, singing simple
odes to sunshine, holidays, embracing love and life. I am somewhat
skeptical of their flowing white church-robes and saccharine
lyrical content but their music is undeniably uplifting and I am
certain that this will be a defining album for summer 2002. Let
yourself be swept away and you won't regret it. Recommended. [JM]

SOVIET "We are Eyes, We are Buildings" (Head) CD $13.99
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New York's premier electroclash band have finally re-pressed their
ultra-rare debut album and now with two bonus tracks. This quintet
take the popular retro-futurist approach to '80s synth pop icons
such as Depeche Mode, OMD and Ultravox, and make it sound fresh
again. Soviet's songs are done so well you would swear that it is
a lost gem from the era where asymmetric haircuts, rubber
bracelets, spiked belts and John Hughes films ruled the world.
They have been featured on just about every electro compilation,
they have played the hippest parties here in NYC, and been models
and muse's for the city's best fashion and nightlife magazines.
Twelve-tracks and not a throwaway in the bunch, this is an
essential document of New York in 2002! Look out Fischerspooner,
for Soviet are the next heirs to the electro pop throne. A perfect
pop record! [JS]

VHS OR BETA "Le Funk" (On) CD $13.99
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From the mid-'80s into the early '90s, Louisville, KY was a music
hotbed birthing some pretty heavy post-punk hitters among the
likes of Squirrel Bait, Slint and Rodan. So much so that aside
from baseball bats and horse racing, the town is still most
revered for its heyday of pre-grunge exports. This reason alone
makes VHS or Beta's take on French house (by way of live
musicians) intriguing, but the fact remains, these reformed
rockers can obviously throw one hell of a dance party. All the
necessary cues are there: from phase shifters squelching the up-
and-down staccato strokes between dueling rhythm guitars to the
vocoder voices singing spacey disco call-outs over infectious
grooves. But what differentiates VHS or Beta from French
counterparts like Daft Punk and Etienne De Crecy is their spotlight
on live instrumentation versus the genre's usual digital cues, ala
samples, but never forgoing 21st century discotheque styling.
There are still plenty of heavy-handed EQ assaults twisting
filter knobs 360 degrees and house beat repetitions that build and
build into the big blow-up. The flanged guitar slides and electric
piano accents of "Solid Gold" would mix quite well into Bob
Sinclar's "Disco 2000 Selector" while the final two recorded-live
tracks of "Le Funk" are an impressive showcase of VHS or Beta's
tight and mighty musicianship. Who knew that disco paradise could
be found in Louisville? I'm there! [GH]

[V.A.] "We Still Kill the Old Way" (Clone) CD/LP $15.99/$14.99
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The Dutch do electro best! Hands down, the finest new electro is
coming out of the Netherlands with artists such as Dexter,
Perspects, Legowelt, Mocky and many more leading the pack, along
with the king of the new electro scene himself I-F. Clone is
definitely the premier Dutch label; with their generic white 12"
sleeves and plain record labels, they are easily hard to miss in
your local record shop. Not too long ago Clone had released two
mind-numbing 12" compilations of the best new electro around.
These records titled, "We Still Kill the Old Way" set the standard
that many have not yet come close to. Now the fine people at Clone
have released their first CD compiling the dozen tracks contained
on the two 12"s with the amazing Dexter bookending the compilation
with two great tracks, "Mr. Blunt" and the vocodered cut-up funk
of the amazing "I Programm." Newcomer Bangkok Impact gives us one
of the most melodic electro numbers in history with his "Bright
Light, Dim Light," while Legowelt lays down a funky dancefloor
number that would make Herbie Hancock proud. The always amusing
Mocky graces us with their new anthem "F**k All Night," which is
sure to be played at every club and fashion event any day now.
With the rest of the album rounded out by tracks from Partisan
Midi, Double Dutch, Perspects, Frustrated Fingers, Cosmic Force,
Fabrice Lig, and Duplex. Forget Germany, New York and the UK, for
this is true dancefloor electro and it's straight out of the Netherlands!
Amazing! [JS]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=871100000314&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=871156802060&refer_url=email

COLIN BLUNSTONE "One Year" (Epic UK) CD $18.99
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When you think of Colin Blunstone the first thing that likely comes
to mind is his contributions as lead vocalist of the seminal '60s
band the Zombies. "Odessey and Oracle" goes down in most
history books as one of the greatest psychedelic pop albums ever
made, but it is not Blunstone's crowning achievement. "One Year"
was Blunstone's first solo album and with all of its careful subtleties,
it exceeds the greatness of "Odessey and Oracle." Released in 1971,
"One Year" was produced by his ex-bandmates Rod Argent and Chris
White and has an understated beauty that the Zombies never attained.
With a soulful swoon that the Zombies lacked, Blunstone gives the
vocal performance of a lifetime on "One Year." The songs are sparse
but pristinely arranged; often Blunstone's breathy vocals are paired
with just wavering strings or softly plucked guitars, allowing his voice
to shimmer in a way that only Scott Walker can rival. There are a few
up-tempo numbers interspersed throughout these downtrodden
moments: "Mary Won't You Warm My Bed" swings with a funky
purpose and "She Loves the Way They Love Her," with its jarring
piano hook and infectious lead guitar, is one of the best album
openers ever. With a soulful touch that is breathtaking, "One Year"
consists of 10 of the most achingly beautiful songs ever recorded.
Simply put, pop records just don't get better than this. [PW]

[V.A.] "Mantronix: That's My Beat" (Soul Jazz) CD/LP $15.99/$20.99
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In the spirit of old-school block parties, Kurtis Mantronik has
plugged into the power supply of an existing source. By compiling
his favorite spins from the past, the lamppost providing the juice
for this set proves to be a great one, as the fascination with
synth-backed chunky beats and funky disco on the dancefloors is
still strong. Coming from the Paradise Garage and David Mancuso's
loft scene, as well as witnessing DJs like Afrika Bambaata and
Grandmaster Flash, Mantronik took the music surrounding him and
quickly became one of the most well-known re-mixers in the early
'80s. Through the Sleeping Bag label, Mantronix released still
recognizable joints like "King of the Beats" and "Got to Have Your
Love." On "That's My Beat," the songs showcased provide the building
blocks for the past hits as well as body-moving testimony to
Mantronix's influences. From the old-school rap of the opening track to
YMO's electro classic "Computer Games" to the disco of Suzy Q,
these songs will have you searching the summer streets for block party
revivals or dancing around your room trying out the new (or old) moves.
Other songs of note include Ryuichi Sakamoto's "Riot in Lagos" and
Visage's "Pleasure Boys" -- exciting journeys into the roots of IDM and
new wave, respectively. Yay to Soul Jazz for releasing another
excellent comp and amazing soundtrack to the first part of summer.
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502632810062&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502632800062&refer_url=email

[V.A.] "Luke Vibert's Further Nuggets" (Lo) CD $15.99
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Before I begin, let me give some background for the uninitiated.
There is a cult of record collectors (reclusive genius Luke Vibert
being one of them) that specialize in collecting, buying and
trading sound library records. These were records that were
created for the sole purpose of moving picture and radio programs.
You remember that incredible psychedelic incidental music that you
always heard on Dragnet when Joe Friday busted up the hippie
parties? That's sound library music. Nobody could buy these
records except for TV and radio stations as these were exclusive
for commercial bed music and such. This music was very inventive
though, and because it was soundtrack music the arrangers could
get as experimental as they wanted. So you would hear gurgly Moog
electronics over 4/4 disco beats, while a fuzz guitar droned on top,
culimated in a cymbal crash -- all in 90 seconds. Pretty awesome,
huh? You could see how someone like Vibert or Thom Yorke (who
supposedly collects these records too) would be enamored with this
stuff. If you like Bruce Haack, Vampyros Lesbos, or any sort of
inventive kitsch, I think you'd be into this stuff. These twenty-six rare
tracks are culled from the sound library vaults of Chappell, Southern,
iM, Brutton, Peer and Parry and a perfect follow-up to Vibert's
original Nuggets collection. [DH]

JOSEPH NOTHING "Dreamland Idle Orchestra" (Planet Mu) CD $12.99
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Joseph Nothing (aka Tatsuya Yoshida) has created an eclectic
collage for Planet Mu as the follow-up to last year's acclaimed
"Dummy Variations." "Dreamland Idle Orchestra" is a concept
album full of love songs to, and based on a now abandoned theme
park in his hometown of Yokohama. There is a certain sense of
schizophrenia associated with amusement parks, with every turn
offering a different emotion, which translates through this album.
You can feel the magic and chaos in these alternating short and
long pieces which range from pop and funk to traditional Japanese
influence. The constantly changing, overlapping beats and melodies
are driven by an underling carnival mischief that will keep you
involved and interested throughout. "Dreamland Idle Orchestra" is
beautiful yet unsettling, somewhere between Aphex, Squarepusher
and Boards of Canada. [JD]

REVLON 9 "Revlon 9" (Revlon 9) CD $4.99
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There is a new reason for me to continue my musical obsession with
Sweden and it is completely non-psych related!!! The group known
as Revlon 9 proves that fantastic music is currently being made there.
Born out of two beat-up guitars and a drum machine (now including a
bass and live drums), they breathe some serious life into the scarcely
living beast known as punk rock. And I mean punk rock you can
dance to. Really dance to. I dare you to listen to "Someone Like You"
or "The Seventh Seal" and keep still. I'll break it down: if you are
digging on the current NYC fuzzed out disco-rock phenomenon, (i.e.
you bought the Rapture 12" or let's say the A Certain Ratio re-issue,
or you already own any Family Fodder or Wire... need I go on?) YOU
NEED TO CHECK THIS OUT. I swear they will have you sweating in
no time. Sexy. Stomping.Satisfying. [NL]

OASIS "Heathen Chemistry" (Epic) CD $17.99
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Two years since their disappointing studio album "Standing on the
Shoulders of Giants," Oasis have returned with their best record
since 1995's "What's the Story Morning Glory." Since then, both
Liam and Noel Gallagher have gone through messy divorces, cleaned
up their act (the rumored partying days are over), recruited new
band members (Ride's Andy Bell and Gez of Heavy Stereo) and
finally reconciled their brotherly differences having found a mutual
respect for each other. This is the first album that is almost a
democracy with every band member contributing songs; even Liam
gets three. Tracks like "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" recall the
band's best ballads like "Wonderwall." "All in the Mind" is a
psychedelic swirl of a song straight out of the Lennon/McCartney
songbook while "The Hindu Times" is an amazing guitar stomper
recalling the good old days of their debut album "Definitely Maybe."
My personal favorite, the brilliant "Little by Little," sung by Noel,
takes me back to another of my faves, the huge American hit
"Don't Look Back In Anger." Well, these are just a few highlights
from a brilliant album so don't write the brothers Gallagher off yet.
They're just getting started. [JS]

TUXEDOMOON "Soundtracks/Urban Leisure" (LTM) CD $14.99
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More post-punk/art school gems from the LTM label, this one being
a collection of soundtrack stuff generated from the early to mid-
'80s fertile period of Tuxedomoon. Most tracks range from a
sophisticated, urban and modern Martin Denny-like soundtrack feel
to a surprisingly "post-rock-like" downtempo mood music designed
for a dimly lit speakeasy. Timelessness is achieved by combining
unlikely, yet recognizable elements. A sound resembling cars
driving by on a highway is juxtaposed with an off-kilter rhythm
machine and a sultry, modal, winding sax line. Cool points to
Tuxedomoon for coining the phrase/concept "Urban Leisure" 15 years
before the arrival of "Trip Hop" and "Chillout/Lounge." Recommended
for all post-rock, art-rock fans as well as your average leftfield music
fan. Necessary and enlightening. [SM]

DACM "Showroom Dummies" (Mego) CD $15.99
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After an introduction involving the oblique wonders of submerged
old electro-ish or even bleep-ish timbres, Peter Rehberg (Mego
boss and also a client, as Pita) sets about his deep-sea quest
with a brutal mien, even as his work has often seemed conversely
almost romantically open-ended. (At least on "Seven Tons for Free"
and also with Fennesz and Jim O'Rourke on "Magical Sound of
FennO'berg," both Mego releases). The sounds then begin to flatten
out over the digital palette in the succeeding tracks, more high-end
in the tech retail sense than "high-end" trebly frequencies sense,
and there are undulating occasions of an almost narrative
adventurous-ness. By the second-to-last track, the periscope is up
and to the strains of genetically altered strings (!) (I told you:
romantic) LAND looms. NOTE: I know this depiction in no way
correlates with the sort of Fangoria cover art but I was just rolling
along with that submarine conceit... [DHo]

NUMBERS "Numbers Life" (Tigerbeat 6) CD $12.99
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The lovely Indra Dunis (lead singer and drummer) along with former
Xerobot members Dave Broekema (guitar) and Eric Landmark (synth)
are the trio known as Numbers. Earlier this year (the night San
Francisco came to town) in a packed Brooklyn firetrap/loft-space,
Numbers and Coachwhips set all ears on end. I still have this
blurred-glimpse memory of a tall brunette in a striped top walking
across the room. It was obvious to me that she wasn't from here so
I took this as my cue that it was time to find some space near where
this young lady was setting up a drum kit. Like most Twisted Ones
events, it was sweaty from the word go and once a sufficient quantity
of beer was splashed around, the room erupted into spastic fit of
dancing proving to me that post-punk can still be fun. "Numbers Life"
serves as a Polaroid of the disjointed machinations of modern society.
The lyrics focus on ideas regarding consumerism, the human
condition, and the proliferation of technology. The jagged
Gang of Four/Contortions treble of Dave's guitar combines with Eric's
Kraftwerk/Adult robotic bleep that Indra locks down with an ACR/ESG
go-go beat. Numbers' playful sound reminds me of Y-Pants, with a
defiant sense of sonic appropriation that puts them in close orbit to
Erase Errata and Clinic, while laying waste to all the others out there
now by actually providing a danceable take on disco-punk. [AG]

ETERNITY'S CHILDREN "Eternity's Children" (Rev Ola) CD $15.99
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Fans of sunshine pop will be psyched to check out Eternity's
Children, who fall somewhere between the Free Design and the
Millennium. Hardly surprising, considering that most of the tracks
were produced by Curt Boettcher and the album features covers of
both a Sagittarius song and a scrapped cut from the Millennium's
"Begin." That is not to say that this record has no integrity; the songs
are beautifully and complexly harmonized -- perfect for summertime
drives or lying around at the park. We played it at the store and, even
in the overbearing heat, customers mustered up the energy to tap
along and head-nod. I even burst into song at one point, it is just that
kind of album. Super infectious dreamy pop, cradled with just enough
reverb to be fuzzy and mildly psych-y. Plus some super-soulful
numbers with slippery organs to keep it moving. Ahhh...summer.

This week's contributors: J Dennis [JD], Lisa Garrett [LG], Andy Giles
[AG], Gerald Hammill [GH], Duane Harriott [DH], Dan Hougland [DHo],
Nicole Lang [NL], Josh Madell [JM], Scott Mou [SM], Jeremy Sponder
[JS] and Phil Waldorf [PW].

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